Engineering college managements are divided over the government’s decision to cap the intake to just 420 seats in each college and an additional 120 seats for the NBA-accredited colleges.

A group of colleges that have made a name for themselves see the decision as ‘indefensible’ while a big chunk of colleges in the rural and semi-urban areas termed the decision ‘timely’ to save engineering colleges from closing down.

Among the 716 colleges, nearly 500 colleges have an intake of more than 420 as of now.

It means they cannot expand their colleges even if they create sufficient infrastructure in the future.

Several colleges under the banner of the Education Protection Committee have been demanding a cap on the intake while all the colleges are unanimous on not permitting new colleges.

“We established colleges in rural areas and small towns to help rural students, but urban colleges are taking advantage of their location to increase their strength and hitting rural colleges,” said K.V.K. Rao, chairman of the committee. Mr. Rao said engineering colleges should sacrifice some seats to reduce the total intake by at least one lakh to save engineering education and help survival of colleges in towns.

The Consortium of Engineering Colleges Managements Association (CECMA) general secretary, Rajeshwar Reddy, also welcomed the decision.

But city-based college management groups that have multiple colleges and get high response from students during admissions feel the decision will not stand the legal scrutiny as AICTE permits additional seats if the colleges fulfil all the conditions. AICTE chairman S.S. Mantha clarified that they could not deny permission for new courses if institutions met norms.